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Manhattan Beach Adopts Social Distancing Ordinance As Cases Rise Again

Mar 25, 2020 04:16PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via the City of Manhattan Beach

Editor's note: This story was updated on Thursday, March 26, to update the number of cases and reflect that this number represents a combined total for Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, and that it is subject to change based on further investigation.

The Manhattan Beach City Council on Wednesday morning adopted an ordinance tightening social distancing requirements and prohibiting hoarding.

Meanwhile, the official number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 rose to 21 on Thursday. Note that that number reflects a combined Manhattan Beach/Hermosa Beach count, and that the L.A. County Department of Health says that this number is subject to change based on further investigation.

Urgency Ordinance

Under the urgency ordinance, residents, visitors and businesses must exercise the social distancing requirements directed by the state and county orders related to COVID-19, including maintaining six feet distance from other people. This requirement includes workers in activities deemed essential by the state, such as construction activities.

Additionally, no one can participate in any gathering or group activity of any size, including games and sports in any city park, the beach, the Manhattan Beach Pier, the Strand, and other public spaces. A gathering is defined as two or more people, except those who share the same dwelling unit.

“We have not seen the peak of the spread of this disease, and not practicing social distancing is irresponsible and dangerous," said Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery in a statement.

"We must adhere to the recommendations from our health officials that people practice social distancing, stay home if sick, cancel or postpone group events, work from home, and take other precautions to protect the health and prevent transmission of COVID-19."

In addition, the urgency ordinance prohibits hoarding of essential goods such as hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, canned food, frozen food and other needed supplies.

The penalties for hoarding or violating the social distancing prohibitions include 6 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

The ordinance was adopted on a 5-0 vote.

At Wednesday's meeting, City Council members discussed the rampant overcrowding on the Strand, and briefly considered the idea of closing it to the public. However, members agreed to wait to see how the closure of beach parking lots pans out in terms of deterring people from hanging out on the Strand. 

COVID-19 Cases Rise Again

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Department of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the combined region of Manhattan Beach/Hermosa Beach is now at 21. 

County-wide, there are now 1,216 confirmed cases. 

Additionally, today, new health officer orders are being issued to ensure that individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and those who are told by a clinician they are presumed to be positive for COVID-19, are required to self-isolate for a period of 7 days and 3 days of being symptom free.

The order also specifies that those who have been in close contact with someone who is positive or presumed positive must quarantine themselves for 14 days from their last exposure to that person.

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